Meet our friend Meleana: fashion designer, columnist for Hawaii Luxury magazine, and master lei maker. A couple times a year Meleana teaches a special workshop at Paiko on the art of haku. Catch the next one on Wednesday July 18th.
I know your grandmother was a haku master. Do you think you would be so passionate about haku were it not for her?
Yes, My Tutu was an amazing lei maker. Her fascination and love the traditional style of lei making turned into a business for her, but she never made one lei that was not completely filled with Aloha. She always thought of her client and their personal look and likes and catered each lei to match them. She shared her lei in the most giving way with nothing expected in return. With all that being said, yes, I can completely attribute my love for lei making and the spirit of sharing a lei to my Tutu. She was also known for her wreaths, puakenikeni leis and frequently did large projects such as weddings and funerals, taking on any floral challenge.
My cousins and I would help her or just sit at her table and talk to her while she worked and we were always adorned ourselves, for EVERY occasion so it is ingrained in all of us. Personally, my own passion for lei making developed recently since she has passed and I LOVE to make Haku leis. I love the architecture and color combination of a Haku lei. My cousins make the most beautiful Puakenikeni leis and mine are terrible! My sister loves to Haku as well, but makes the most stunning bouquets, using her techniques. We all have something we have gravitated to.
Do you follow the same technique as your grandmother or is your style different?
Yes, I follow and teach the same Wili style of Haku Lei making that she used and taught. In the past year I have also enjoyed learning different techniques for different styles of leis… if there is a particular material I want to work with, I play with different techniques to make that flower or fern shine! I definitely have a different style that my Tutu… I will never be as good! I try and try but its a work in progress! She had an effortless way with flowers… they obeyed her, she loved them and anything she touched turned out stunning.
Do you have a favorite haku flower combination?
I can’t say I have a complete favorite, but I am a LOVER of color. Any chance I get to use Mamo, the bright yellow Lehua I am thrilled. That combined with some hot pink ti-leaf is gorgeous! I love to use the native Palapalai as my fern…. its not always easy to find and its delicate, but so so pretty.
Whats the last haku plant material experiment that was a success? Any that were failures?
I made a lovely anthirium lei for a photo shoot.. I was suprised it came out! I had a lei flop using big hibiscus. I couldn’t resist trying because the colors are so fantastic, but it didn’t survive for more than an hour!
What’s most interesting to you about teaching haku?
I love how every student just goes for it! Maybe I am used to workshops where you were told the lei had to turn out a certain way, but people are so creative! I love that every student takes my instruction and just goes for it and everyone is so stoked and proud of their finished lei, when none of them look at all the same! I am also so impressed with how fast everyone makes a lei! It would take me 5 hours when I was younger! I love sharing this skill, it is so fun and gratifying!
So this past week, my man and I decided to take a quick bae-cation and hop on over to the island of Hawai'i aka Big Island. The people were sweet, the food was tasty, the beaches were fun, but the PLANT LIFE was RIDICULOUS. Big Island, you are unreal.
Photos by Kenna Reed
Story by Kenna Reed
Flowers from your man, flowers from your lady, flowers from yourself... They all have one thing in common. We want them to last. We trim their stems under water and change their water as soon as it looks a little cloudy, but what else can we do? Flower Food.
We decided to test out three homemade flower food recipes, compare the results to plain water and tell you what we think! So here goes:
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp hydrogen peroxide
1 qt water
2 tsp Sprite
1 tsp hydrogen peroxide
1 qt water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp hydrogen peroxide
1 qt water
For the experiment we tested out umbrella ferns, philodendrons, molokai orchid stems, pincushion proteas, Obake anthuriums and a mini anthurium.
- Anthuriums prefered the Sprite mixture, resulting in flowers that lasted about 3-5 days longer than the rest.
- Pincushion proteas really did not like the vinegar mixture, it actually caused the prongs on the flower to bend backwards! Sorry pro-pro.
- Orchids didn't seem to show much variation in logevity, however the sugar mixture did seem to help more of the buds to open.
- The umbrella fern, as well as, the philodendron did slightly better in the lemon mixture.
We also noticed that the lemon mixture causes the water to appear cloudy, making the water seem dirty. Simple solution, use an opaque vase.
So go ahead and experiment- hopefully you'll get a few more days out of your blooms!
Photos: Kenna Reed
Story: Kenna Reed
Art: Harry Tsuchidana
After rushing around like busy bees all spring, we're finding a new appreciation for mellow days just kicking it at home. Coffee and the New York Times, followed by closet organization, sandwiches, flower arranging, a run, then a wine lubricated evening in the kitchen makes for a darn good day in our book.
With all this home-time it's important that our houses are filled with good vibes. Enter the smudge stick. A derivative of a Native American cultural practice, burning these wrapped bundles of white sage is a way to purify your space and introduce serenity. Simply slowly wave the smoking bundle around your home, making sure to hit entryways and corners, places where rumor has it, negative energy likes to stagnate.
We've got a few different sticks in the shop, including a gorgeous rose petal wrapped number by Catherine Rising. Stop by and start cleansing!
Photo: Kenna Reed
Story: Tamara Rigney
It's April and you know what that means... The start of one of our favorite seasons: Plumeria Season. So what does one do with herself during this glorious time of year? Press pause, take a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the view (and smell).
With dozens of species and hybrids, you can find plumerias in almost every shade of white, red, pink, and yellow. Their fragrance varies by species, with some recalling sweet fruit punch and some with more delicate floral notes. We love them all- it's almost impossible to pick a favorite.
If you're interested in growing your own plumeria tree, don't waste your time looking for and sprouting seeds. Simply find the tree you admire most, ask for permission, and propagate a cutting. You can do this by cutting a branch 1-2 feet from the tip, letting the cutting dry out for at least a week, and then planting it in soil with good drainage.
Tada! Plumerias for everyone!
If you haven't visited Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley, do it. Like this week. The UH owned arboretum is one of our favorite spots on the island: a lush corner of the valley full of rare plants, meandering well kept trails, and yes giant screaming tropical birds.
Visiting Lyon with a picnic is always fun, but did you know they also have a full line up of classes? Check out sessions on indigo dying, botanical jewelry crafting, and DIY tree pruning. See ya there!
We're STILL obsessed with baby pineapples. We use them in all their forms; on stems in arrangements, loose to adorn our desks, and growing tall (and ridiculously cute) in our favorite terra cotta planters.
So what to do after you're done enjoying your little fruit?
Just like their larger, edible relatives, miniature pineapples can be sprouted into new plants.
All you'll need are these: A cutting board, three toothpicks, a small vessel filled with water, a sharp (preferably serrated) knife and most importantly, your baby pineapple.
First, remove the top by cutting about an inch below the crown.
Then, gently twist the remaining meat off the crown.
Your deconstructed pineapple should now consist of three parts.
Peel the base leaves from the crown until you are left with something that looks like this. We ended up peeling off about three layers.
Poke three toothpicks into the base of your crown (about an inch to a half inch higher than the base) making a triangle formation. This will allow the crown to suspend above the water, preventing rot.
Your finished product should look like this.
Be sure the base of your pineapple top is always touching the water and that your water is always clean. Use hydrogen peroxide to clean your vessel weekly to avoid bacteria build up. Place your vessel somewhere with a decent amount of indirect sunlight and in a matter of weeks, your pineapple should begin to sprout a new root system. Once a substantial amount of roots have been established, your baby pineapple is ready to be replanted!
An Evening of Haku with Meleana Estes
We've just added two workshop dates with our friend, designer and expert lei maker, Meleana Estes. Join us for a special evening where she passes on the beautiful tradition of haku, teaching us from an overflowing collection of local and temperate flowers and foliages. And yes, there will be cocktails!
Easter Workshop with Wrappily
Join Sara Smith from Wrappily for this festive Easter workshop. Sara will be guiding us in creating blooming easter baskets and colorful seed bomb 'eggs' using her favorite medium- gorgeous Wrappily paper. Enjoy your creations for the Easter weekend then plant your 'eggs' to sprout a beautiful, pollinator friendly, wildflower garden.
Signup for all of our workshops at paikohawaii.com
I'm sure by now you've heard all about the latest addition to our shop: ARVO. And just when you thought having an Australian coffee bar in your favorite neighborhood wasn't exciting enough, they brought us this ... *drumroll* ... A BOOZY BRUNCH.
And what better day to kick off the new tradition than Valentine's Day. Just in case you missed it, here are a bunch of photos to get you pumped for the next big one.
Don't forget about the mimosa bar, stocked with fresh fruits and juices.
Matcha chia pudding with fresh fruit and a matcha whip, loaded avocado toast, and their latest green tea lattes are just a few of the things you can all look forward to.
These ARVO sessions will be happening monthly and we can't wait to see you at the next one! Stay posted for more details.
photos and story by Kenna Reed
Thanks for visiting ladies!
Without fail, anytime our flower bar is stocked with these beauties, people come running. I present to you, the King Protea.
The King Protea has the largest bloom in the massive protea family. Native to South Africa, they grow as a shrub and bloom most prolifically in the winter. The large "flower" is actually a collection of tiny true flower heads surrounded by colorful bracts that can be white, yellow, red, or the most sought after, pink.
Proteas love extreme weather conditions: dry summers and cold wet winters, so your efforts at growing them in Honolulu will be poorly rewarded. But lucky for us, the temperate climate on the high slopes of the Big Island and Maui provide perfect conditions for these artichoke-like bad boys. We work with a handful of small farms to stay stocked.
Cut the stems at an angle when you get home to get them drinking. Keep your kings fresh with water changes every few days and a floral preservative. Make your own preservative with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, a teaspoon of lemon, and a teaspoon of sugar.
And did mention they dry beautifully? When your arrangement looks tired, hang the kings upside-down to dry (this helps preserve their shape), then enjoy them for years.
Photos by Kenna Reed unless noted
Written by Kenna Reed
The construction wall is down, our halls are decked, and we're ramping up for Christmas like a boss. Here are a few ideas for making your home festive and your friends happy.
Fresh wreaths made by the lovely Paiko ladies. Don't forget you can also sign up for a workshop and make your own!
Kokedama moss balls in all species and sizes! And another holiday workshop option.
Nunu ornaments. These intricate little sea critters are made with locally sourced natural materials by an A-nunu-mous local artist.
Dried wreaths made by our friends over at Lyons Arboretum in Manoa. These beauties are made with locally sourced materials and can be used for years to come.
Your favorite llamas made by local artist, Dee Oliva. Now with a holiday twist! Llamas gotta stay warm during the chilly Hawaiian winter.
Pareos from Kealopiko's latest collection.
Potted local orchids (this one's about to bloom!) in some of our classic terra cotta wash pot planters.
See ya in the shop soon!
Photos by Kenna Reed
Written by Kenna Reed
There's a new addition to our Paiko squad, but its a familiar face. Alex Hubbard, owner of smoothie and sandwich bar, The Cut, in Lana Lane Studios, has recently joined forces with Paiko to create beautiful Launiu Pāpale (coconut frond hats). We chatted with Alex about food, the story behind his hats, and his vision for the future.
Tell us about yourself and what led you to opening The Cut.
Food is a great way to get to know a person so why don't we start off with that. In regards to my diet, people often ask me, “what are you?” I'm not a Vegan or a Vegetarian and I'm definitely not an ambassador of health. I'm not above anyone's personal tastes nor am I below any perpetuated habitual myths. I'm interested in the story of our Food and I find myself searching for my community of like minds, cultivating my heart and others I meet on my journey.
I'm no chef. However, I do like to eat! I'm not a farmer (at least not to the capacity that I can sustain myself year round). Ain't that a pickle? A guy that doesn't grow his own food, but likes to eat everyday. Yet somehow I still manage to eat everyday- can you believe that?
I think majority of the population is in the same predicament. I read on HI-CAN.org something to the tune of 88% of our food we eat in Hawaii is imported. We are disconnected from the very substance which gives us life. We depend on others to feed us.
Food is either giving us life or taking it away. The less involved in the process of my food I am, the more I'm being force fed (not just food but policy as well). I ask myself three questions- what am I eating? Where/how was it grown? How was it prepared? These simple questions govern more than we may think. In them, lies the answer to World Peace. Majority of the external conflict we experience in the World is a direct reflection of the internal conflict we are experiencing within, but that's another essay.
The most rewarding experience in life, for me, is growing my own food, eating it and sharing it! It makes me feel alive like when I'm walking down the street and I share a smile with a pretty girl. Growing and eating our own food stays with us. It resonates in us. It elevates us. It changes us. We can only change ourselves, but the right food changes a person from the inside out.
In our busy lives, we often feel we don't have time to prepare our own food, let alone grow it. There lies the problem. The experience, the relationship, our senses, the land, the touch and smell and taste. It's these little connections that are necessary in bridging the gap between ourselves and food. Do we only eat to satisfy our hunger? Or is there a more sacred, communal, grounding pleasure that we are failing to experience?
Is there a more profound ritual that directly affects our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being? Yet it's something we do multiple times a day with little to no thought.
When I'm off my game, I use food to heal myself. I prefer raw fruits and vegetables, medicinal roots that take little prep time. Minimal ingredients too – mono meals.
So I opened a smoothie shop so I could be around nourishing food all the time and live a more meaningful purposeful life! It was a no brainer. Come to find out, I'm getting an education in Hawaii’s Food System. Believe me when I say, there's more to food than what meets the eye.
What is The Cut all about?
All I hear is "eat local, eat local, eat local" but where can I find a local meal in Kakaako? A simple, satisfying meal that I can enjoy quickly and without guilt. I saw a local pineapple for sale yesterday for $25! I'm down to support local, but sometimes I don't feel local is down to support me.
The Cut is about access, opportunity, education, community and connection.
Making locally grown meals accessible to the general public.
Providing Opportunities for the Community to make educated decisions.
Educating the Community to know what their decisions are supporting.
Cultivating a Community unified in Consciousness.
Connecting the Community back to the Source.
My vision is a self-sustained community that is connected to the land. Big dreams huh? It's a work in progress. I don't have all the answers. Ultimately, the status of the community is determined by their level of participation, commitment and current needs.
Sourcing locally, being fresh and making things from scratch are obviously top priority. How does this philosophy apply to the hats you're now making for Paiko? Where do you source your materials and where did you learn how to make them?
That's a good question. Another good question is why is this Haole boy wearing Launiu Pāpale? I'm not Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiian). I'm a fourth generation descendant of Korean and Malaysian immigrants who came here as indentured servants to work the plantation fields. Both of my Grandmas married service men during WW2. I'm a by-product of Industry and War.
Born in Waikiki, raised in Kaimuki; I grew up under a mango tree my Great Grandfather, Ok-Soo Song, planted with the help of my dad when he was a kid. This tree is close to 60yrs old now and I still live under it. I'm old enough to take care of it now. I harvest the mango in the summer. I trim it once a year. I like to rake the leaves on Sunday's. It's how I fellowship with the creator. It's Church. Working the land and maintaining the trees is Worship. Eating, as we discussed earlier, is Ritual. Kids should grow up with trees. Especially trees that were planted by their ancestors. Trees truly are living legacies.
My grandfather's still taking care of me till this day. Providing shade, nourishment, and teaching me lessons. You can learn a lot just by sitting up in a tree.I was being fed mango before I was raking leaves. As kids, we would pick mango with the big bamboo picker. As we got older, we'd just climb with denim bags sewn by Great Grandma and stay up there for an hour filling up bag after bag. This is the story of a 30 year old relationship between a boy and a tree who helped raise him into a man.
The trees planted in our yards have a history. They have an identity. We see them as contributing members of our Family. They are our Family.
My story with Niu is no different. I was fed it first. I drank coconut. I took shelter in their shade, working under one for three years. I learned to weave on the Beach in Waikiki from Coffee Ken, one of the uncles that helped Captain Mondo with his catamaran out front the outrigger reef hotel. Being so thirsty for fresh coconut water, I learned to climb. I used to renegade Kawamotos properties until he cut down all the prized ones we'd pick from. Now I have several trees I regularly trim and pick from. No more renegading. Two Niu trees per person is more than enough to have fresh coconut everyday of the year.
You see how these relationships began though? The land takes care of us then in turn we learn to take care of the land. Ulana Launiu –coconut leaf weaving- is truly a gift from the land to the stewards who take care of it.
Coffee Ken taught me one main thing about weaving that I keep with me always. He taught me to weave because I want to weave. He'd say “ don't make a rose cause you wanna give it to some broad. Your rose is gonna come out all messed up. You gotta weave with no intentions. When you weave, you weave just to weave, that's it. Now if somebody wants to buy what you made hey- nothing wrong with that. But don't weave because you want to sell your stuff and make money or use it to pick up chicks.”
I don't weave too often, but when I do, I keep this lesson with me. I pick leaf when I pick coconut. Lately, I've been using the leaf from my friends house in Kapahulu, Todd Pinder. I like to use this leaf because his tree is protected from the wind. That coconut he's got is my favorite too! Although I've never met a coconut I didn't like.
One last story about my favorite Pāpale.
My favorite Pāpale comes from Honolua Bay, Maui. A magical place with surreal beauty and ancient Mana. A tree had been cut down. A tall tree, old enough it had probably seen the Royalty. The crown lay on the ground with the center leaf intact next to its massive stump. I asked the Kahu, Jimmy Billianor, if I could have the leaf. He said sure so I borrowed his knife and cut the leaf. I wove a basket that night and gave it to him he next morning before hopping on a plane and taking the rest of it home with me back to Oahu.
Normally you never take the center leaf. That's the life of the tree. If you take that leaf you kill the tree. Now think about that for a second.
A hundred year old coconut tree, from Honolua Bay, that stood right off the trail to the ocean; overlooking all who passed it for years. The center life of its crown woven into a crown to crown my head. What a privilege it is to be able to honor its life. It's as if I was destined to receive its blessing that day.
Every time I weave, I learn. The leaf wants to teach you all it has but we can only take as much as we're ready for. As my relationship with Launiu grows, I notice I am more willing to receive its lessons than when I first was introduced to this Kupuna.
Each Pāpale in Paiko taught me a lesson. When you pick up those hats and try them on you'll want to know more. It's the start of a lifelong relationship. If you allow it, the leaf is willing to teach you something too.
Ulana Launiu / coconut leaf weaving
Pāpale / Hat
The Cut recently took a little break and rumor is that it's back better and stronger! What can everyone look forward to?
Organization. Participation. Collaboration.
I asked my uncle this question the other day and I'll ask you too- Do you think ancient Hawaiians had poi stands? Somebody dedicated to sitting in a stand all day selling poi to people whenever they were hungry.
I really don't know the answer to that but I'd like to imagine that their eating practices were more communal and every person involved partook in the process at some level.
I stayed in a small town in Parana, Brazil called Marechal Candido-Rondon. Stayed there two months and lived with a Brazilian family that spoke very little English. Everyday from 11:30 to 1:30 we ate lunch together. The kids would come home from school to help their mothers, the father would come home from work and we'd all sit and eat together. The family fought, laughed and cried at that table but they did it together. Day in Day out. Lunch was a daily organized event that brought the family together. I looked forward to it.
I'm organizing a few regular monthly events. A weekly pre-ordered meal plan. A Sunday educational Dinner. A night market jam and a few workshops. All to bring the community together around food.
The meal plan is a pre-ordered lunch once a week on Thursdays. It will be mostly vegetarian based meals, made with Local ingredients, except for grains and beans. It will consist of a salad, an entrée and a beverage. People can sign up and make their reservation in advance by email or Instagram and come eat or pick up their meal between 1130am and 2pm. It will be a chance to socialize and meet people in the community and come together to support our local farmers and work towards our Food Independence.
The Sunday dinner is a chance to learn our Mission and Vision and Goals; and the who's, what's , where's, why's and how's.
It's also a chance to educate ourselves and teach ourselves how to initiate and support a local food economy. Its an opportunity to create a unified voice to speak on behalf of our community food needs.
I have a coconut workshop planned for Dec 13th. This course will focus on machete sharpening, coconut husking, safety and preparing the meat in several ways. It will include all the necessary tools I use to process coconut. Lunch will be included as well.
I am Determined and Dedicated to create sustaining solutions to solve the food, economic and environmental challenges we presently face as a society. I invite you to join me and begin the transformative journey that takes place from the inside out.
Anyone interested in participating in any of these programs, workshops or events can contact me for more information. If you want to incorporate local food into your diet in a convenient way let's make it happen!
Interview and Photos by Kenna Reed
Some artists work with paint, and some with clay; Azuma Makoto works with plants. His fantastical living sculptures and installations harness the mysterious energy embodied in the botanical, giving credibility to the often dismissed medium of flowers. And yes, last year he sent a bonzai tree and floral sculpture into space for his piece Exobiotanica.
Here at Paiko we are in awe of Makoto, and you will be too.
All photos from http://azumamakoto.com/
Over the last two weeks, I was lucky enough to spend my time in Paris for fashion week. Between fashions shows, trips to the museums, and endless shots of espresso and baguette sandwiches, I was able to do quite a bit of exploring outside the center of the city. Fortunately, the Metro in France is extremely tourist friendly. After a few days, I received a message from a friend who had just been honeymooning throughout Europe. He gave me an address. and said, "It's Paiko Paris!"
I got off the train at Jacques Bonsergent and found myself in an area that at a glance appeared to be your standard Parisian neighborhood. As I walked around some more, I started to notice that a lot of the shops were tiny speciality shops much like the shops you find scattered throughout Kaka'ako (only Frencher!). More importantly, there were no tourists. I finally reached rue Lucien Sampaix, a busy little side street filled with tiny bistros and lined with mopeds. About halfway down the block, I saw it: Atelier GREEN FACTORY.
So basically, if Paiko made its main (and only) focus the DIY terrarium bar and found an adorable whole-in-the-wall spot in the trendiest little neighborhood in Paris, you would have Atelier Green Factory.
The simple, minimalistic layout of the shop makes the small space, feel bright and airy. The walls are covered in strategically placed wood shelving filled with the most beautiful, self sustained terrariums. For the plants that require more light, solar panel covers are also available for purchase to keep your plants happy and healthy.
So next time you hit the streets of Paris (2016 goals anyone?!) be sure to check out this neighborhood and this shop! You won't be mad.
Photos and Story by Kenna Reed
Paiko Beach isn't great for swimming, and in fact, given its semi hidden location few people even know about it. The beach is very special to us at Paiko though as our business was hatched here. Born in an extra office in the home of Tamara Rigney's tutu, we were named after one of the places Tamara loves most. We want to give back to our beach, so this fall we are teaming up with Malama Maunalua to help in their mission of restoring the health of Paiko Beach and of the larger Maunalua Bay.
To support Malama we'll be donating 2.5% of sales made until Nov 25th, and are holding a Nov 14th 'huki', to remove invasive seaweed from the Bay. Join us Saturday Oct 17th from 6p-830 pm for a kickoff celebration with drinks, sales, succulent party gifts, and a chance to sign up for the huki. Did we mention we're giving out Paiko goody bags to those that join us for the fun seaweed pulling?!